WCW WrestleWar 1992 Review by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
The date is May 17, 1992. The presidency of Bill Clinton is just about to begin. Average household income was around $27,000. Gas was $1.13 per gallon, and Sting’s Squadron went against the Dangerous Alliance in a War Games match! And yours truly was only two days old. What a trip this show is going to be. This show took place in Jacksonville, Florida from the Jacksonville Coliseum in front of 6,000 people. Let’s see how it goes! On commentary for this show are Jesse The Body Ventura and Jim Ross. Awesome!
The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Terry Taylor & Greg The Hammer Valentine: US Tag Team Championship
Every time I see Michael Hayes in the ring, he makes me laugh. I can’t help it! The crowd is totally behind the Freebirds in this one. Terry Taylor comes to the ring in a smoking jacket and taunts Hayes, and Hayes responds in kind. Lots of posturing between these two. These rings are a lot smaller than the ones they use today. Valentine tags in and he and Terry try for a tag team move, but it backfires and Valentine eats a shoulder block instead. Hayes works up the crowd again. He’s great at this!
Jimmy Jam Garvin tags in and Valentine runs into the ringpost. Jimmy Jam targets the arm. Terry tries to get in the ring and help his partner, but the ref’s not allowing it. Hayes comes in behind the ref’s back and Valentine gets double-teamed. The ref simply allows Hayes in as the legal man, even though he never saw the tag. Jesse Ventura rightfully points this out, but there’s only so much he can do from the commentary table. Terry finally tags in and gets double-teamed repeatedly by the Freebirds. They’re focusing on Terry’s arm, just as they did with Valentine. These guys are great together! Jimmy Jam tumbles to the floor and Valentine proceeds to take some liberties while Jimmy Jam’s down. Valentine and Taylor are in control until Hammer tries for a suplex on Jimmy Jam and gets reversed. It takes both guys to stop Garvin from tagging out to Hayes.
A few minutes later, Hayes tags in and takes both guys by himself. The match breaks down and the ref does nothing. Hayes goes for the DDT on Valentine, but gets booped by Taylor instead. Hammer goes for the pin, but it’s a two-count! The crowd comes alive for the Freebirds, but now Hayes is taking all the heat. Hayes responds with an incidental low blow on Hammer, so Terry gets pissed and tags in. A big gut-wrench powerbomb connects for a two count. Valentine comes back in and hooks on the Figure 4! Jimmy Jam shows up to make the save, but Hayes is pretty much screwed now. Terry tags in just in time for Hayes to find a way to tag in Jimmy Jam! Jimmy Jam wrecks both guys with a double clothesline. The crowd is digging it! They’re calling for the DDT! Jimmy Jam nails it on Terry Taylor and this match is over. We have new champions!
Tracy Smothers vs. Johnny B. Badd
Oh god! Tracy has his work cut out for him this time. Jesse Ventura thinks Johnny is a total fruitcake. He’s not wrong, but this kind of entrance wasn’t frowned upon in 1992. If you grew up watching Marc Mero in the late 90s, you’ve already seen every Johnny B. Badd match ever. Mero got into wrestling thanks to his legit boxing background, but Jesse’s not putting up with anybody throwing closed fists in the ring. Those are illegal! This isn’t boxing! Mero’s offense is fast-paced, mostly dropkicks and arm drags. Exciting enough for this crowd, but Tracy doesn’t have time for this shit. He dropkicks Mero square in the face and takes the match over. Tracy comes off the top rope with an elbow to the face for a two-count. Tracy goes for a no-look crossbody, but Mero’s able to turn the pin around and he gets a two count. Mero fires up with some punches, but Jesse’s giving him shit the entire time. Mero wins after a left hook. Jesse’s going to write an angry form letter. This match was rough, but it wasn’t Tracy’s fault. Mero’s entrance was brutal! By the way, they compared him to Little Richard a bunch of times in this match, but Johnnie B. Goode was a Chuck Berry song.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Scotty Flamingo
Hey kids! That’s future ECW Champion Raven! He’s got a long way to go before he gets there. As of this recording, he’s wearing a ridiculous tailcoat and a silly hat. The women in this crowd seem to be interested in both guys, but the men don’t seem to care. This basically a drawn out slap fight until Bagwell gives Scotty a suplex. Flamingo dumps Bagwell out to the floor, but drags him back into the ring immediately. Scotty works over Bagwell with a chinlock and a chokehold. Bagwell recovers and picks up the pace. Both guys fly over the top rope and down to the floor. This would normally result in disqualification, but since both guys flew over at the same time, the ref didn’t call it. Bagwell gives Scotty another suplex, but Scotty’s able to get his foot on the bottom rope to stop the pin. Scotty wins after a dirty rollup. This is your typical WCW underneath match of the time, but I can say without hesitation that Raven’s one of my favorite people in wrestling even now.
Junkyard Dog & Ron Simmons vs. Cactus Jack & Curtis Hughes
This match came about after Cactus Jack and Abdullah the Butcher tried to gang up on Ron Simmons. Junkyard Dog was in the crowd at the time and ran in to make the save, so here we are. Cactus says fuck it during his entrance and goes the opposite way. What the hell? Even Hughes is confused by this, but Jack simply waits for Simmons and JYD to make their entrance before hitting them from behind! Jack gets the jump on JYD and it looks like he can’t continue. Simmons will have to handle this on his own.
After helping JYD to the back, Simmons comes out like a house of fire and takes down Hughes and Jack with ease. They’re both huge men, but Simmons is a moose in his own right and he’s got a ton of motivation. The ref decides to make this a singles match and now it’s Simmons vs. Hughes. Hughes does a clothesline and an elbow drop. Very simple moves, but Hughes is pushing 400 pounds. This can’t be easy to deal with, even for Simmons. Cactus takes a cheap shot behind the ref’s back. Simmons is taking a lot of punishment, but he’s still able to give Hughes a hip toss. Cactus tries to enter the ring, but gets shoulder blocked to the floor. Simmons wins after a chop block to Hughes. Simmons rules. We share a birthday!
Super Invader (w. Harley Race) vs. Todd Champion
I’ve never seen Todd Champion before, but he’s massive! He’s billed at 6’6 and just over 300 pounds. His opponent is just Hercules Hernandez under a mask. Neither of these dues are technical wrestlers, so this should be a big brawl from start to finish. Champion is on the ropes from the start after Super starts by throwing bombs. Super chokes out Champion in the corner, then works him over with a chinlock. Just looking at Champion, he reminds me a lot of Lex Luger. Champion gets dumped to the floor and crashes into the barricade wall. Super goes to the top rope, but Champion blocks it with his foot instead. He tries for a comeback, but eats a powerbomb instead and the match ends. I don’t know anything about Champion’s athletic background. He’s a specimen for sure, but he didn’t look to be very experienced at this time.
Ricky Morton vs. Big Josh
Much like Tracy Smothers before him, Ricky has his work cut out before him. Ricky’s outweighed in this match by about 60 pounds, but he has a ton of heart. Big Josh starts with a powerslam, Ricky rips Josh’s shirt off, then Josh traps Ricky in the corner and pounds him. Josh goes for a corner splash, but comes up empty and Ricky gives him a suplex. With Ricky’s speed, he’s able to stay a step ahead of Josh in this one. Josh removes his shirt finally and drops an elbow on a prone Morton. Josh does a nice belly to belly suplex on Morton, but he refuses to stay down. Josh follows up with a butterfly suplex for a two count. Morton comes off the second rope, but Josh blocks it and wins after an Earthquake splash. What a bummer! There’s a newfound appreciation for Ricky Morton these days, mostly for his ability to take a beating and fight from underneath. The same can’t be said for Big Josh.
Brian Pillman vs. Z-Man: WCW Light Heavyweight Championship
These guys used to be the best of friends, but that’s not the case any longer. They even won the tag team titles together, but for whatever reason, Z-Man seems frustrated at Pillman. Pillman’s a total hothead and is refusing to let this go, so now we have this match. Both guys open with some fast-paced moves. They both go for dropkicks at the same time, then Brian takes Z-Man down and applies an armbar. Both guys keep going for the same moves, but neither can connect. Z-Man puts on an armbar of his own. Brian answers with a headscissors, then both guys trade quick pin attempts. Pillman goes after Z-Man’s leg, but Z-Man’s able to give him a nice suplex. Z-Man gives Pillman a backbreaker. Pillman’s back was injured weeks before this match! Great strategy by Z-Man, but Pillman goes back to the leg and starts taunting Z-Man.
Z-Man goes for a high knee in the corner, but he misses and hurts himself further. Pillman puts on the Figure 4 leglock, but Z-Man’s able to roll across the ring and get the rope break. Things have slowed down now, but this match has been great so far. Pillman goes for an outside-in slingshot, but Z-Man counters with a powerslam for a close two count. Pillman gives Z-Man a crucifix for an even closer two count! Pillman goes to the top rope and sets Z-Man up for a superplex, but Z-Man fights back and does a sweet top rope cross body for another near fall. Both guys get a running start and knock each other out, so the ref has to apply the ten count. Pillman goes an Irish whip, but Z-Man knee gives out. Pillman goes to the top rope for a big move, but Z-Man kicks him out of midair instead. Pillman’s able to get the rope break during the cover, or Z-Man would have had it! Z-Man goes for a missile dropkick, but he misses and Pillman stacks him up for the win! This is the best match of the night so far, but modern crowds will probably call it boring because there’s not a bunch of pointless flipping.
Tatsumi Fujinami & Takatuki Izuka vs. Steiner Brothers
This sounds like an AEW match, but there’s actually a good reason for this, so it can’t be. After winning the New Japan tag team titles, the Steiners were stripped after one of them got an injury. They’re now the WCW world tag team champions, but they’re not satisfied until they win every belt there is to win. Scott does a cool flipping powerslam and a stiff clothesline. Izuka tags in and does a flip dive and a Boston crab. Scott powers out and does his double underhook suplex. Fujinami tags in and faces off with Rick Steiner. Rick dumps Fujinami on his head with a German suplex. The Japanese team sets up for their own Doomsday Device, but Izuka does a flying cross body instead and Rick’s able to turn it around in mid-air. That was awesome! They gang up to work over Rick’s leg, so Scott tags in and does some suplexes. This match is mostly the Steiners walking the dog on the New Japan guys until one of them comes off the top rope and blasts Scott from behind.
Rick tags in and gets double-teamed until he starts doing some suplexes of his own. Scott tags in and takes some more heat. Rick comes off the top rope with a double clothesline. Scott takes a spike piledriver, but somehow, that’s not the end of this thing! Fujinami puts on a sleeper, but Scott gets the rope break. All four guys are in and the ref’s not doing anything about it, but it doesn’t last long before Rick gets the pin on Izuka after a suplex from the top rope. This match had some cool moves, and the crowd loved the Steiners, but I think it’s hard for any American audience to appreciate what these guys did in Japan, so they couldn’t get into it as much.
Sting’s Squadron vs. Dangerous Alliance: WAR GAMES!
If you’re a modern wrestling viewer, you’ve probably seen the War Games matches that took place in NXT. This is where they got the concept! This will be a five-on-five affair, and one team will have a man advantage. The guys will enter at set intervals. No pin or submission can take place until every man has entered. The question for this match is: can Sting’s team of five great individuals defeat Paul Heyman’s established five-man unit? It’s 1992 and Sting is involved, so he’ll probably beat all the bad guys by himself. On Heyman’s team, we have Ravishing Rick Rude, Stunning Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zybysko, and Beautiful Bobby Eaton. Fighting for Sting’s team is Sting himself, Nikita Koloff, Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, and Barry Windham. This should be awesome.
Paul strategizes with his crew before the match starts. Jesse compares him to Vince Lombardi, but Jim Ross compares him to Jim Jones. The first two in this match are Steve Austin and Barry Windham. Steve Austin is a former WCW United States champion, but he lost the belt to Windham. These two hate each other! They start by throwing hands. These guys are in for a long night. Remember, no pins or submissions can take place until everybody else has entered. It’s weird to see Steve Austin with hair. He tries to swing from the top of the cage and kick Barry, but Barry catches him and slams him face-first instead. Austin’s face gets raked into the cage and he’s bleeding already.
After a coin toss to determine the man advantage for this match, Heyman’s crew comes out on top. Ravishing Rick Rude enters next and gets the better of Windham. The crowd is cheering loud for Windham, but he’s getting overrun by Austin and Rude. When the clock runs out again, Ricky Steamboat enters and gets the jump on Rude from behind. He drops both Austin and Rude with DDTs. The crowd loves him! Steve Austin’s face looks disgusting, and now Barry’s bleeding too.
The clock expires again and Arn Anderson enters. He immediately does his perfect spinebuster on Ricky Steamboat! Great move. Rude and Arn double team Steamboat, but Windham shows up to bail him out. Rude drops Steamboat with a piledriver. This is total chaos! Next up is Dustin Rhodes, who enters to a big reaction. He goes right for Austin while Steamboat puts a Boston crab on Rude. Dustin drops Steve Austin with an electric chair. Meanwhile, Steamboat has Rude in a Figure 4 leglock. Larry Zybysko is next, but wait! Medusa climbs to the top of the cage! Sting climbs up to stop her, but we all know he doesn’t have it in him to strike a woman. This match is getting out of hand. Sting’s men are outnumbered, and he races in to help as soon as he’s able. Sting’s hurt after his ribs were injured at the hands of Vader, but he’s still to press Rude into the top of the cage. Sting hucks Arn into the cage and now Arn’s bleeding!
Bobby Eaton enters last for Heyman’s team. There’s blood everywhere! Windham doesn’t even know where he is at this point. It’s been close to half an hour. The only man not in the match yet is Nikita Koloff. Rude loosens the turnbuckle, so now the ropes are loose. Koloff finally enters and he’s ready to unload! He tosses Arn into the cage, then helps Sting up. Arn and Austin try to blast Sting from behind, but Nikita pushes Sting out of the way and takes the blow himself! It’s a relief not to see Sting get stabbed in the back for once. Rude’s still trying to break the ropes for some reason. Sting puts the Scorpion deathlock on Arn, but Bobby Eaton’s there to break it up. The turnbuckle finally comes off! Dustin puts a Figure 4 on Zybysko. Steamboat has Rude in a sleeper hold. Zybysko grabs a big steel hook and tries to blast Sting with it, but he misses and hits Eaton in the shoulder instead. Moron! Sting slaps on an armbar and Eaton submits. Sting’s team wins, but this match was brutal. None of these guys may be the same after this, except for Nikita, who came in at the very end and seems to have suffered no ill effects.